With ice in her veins, Notre Dame’s very own Arike Ogunbowale relentlessly gave a clutch performance to send her team home with a national title.
Now I want you to keep in mind that her first name means: something that you see and you cherish. On the biggest stage of women’s basketball in Columbus, Ohio, the world did just that by witnessing Arike knock down back-to-back buzzer beaters to win the NCAA Championship for Notre Dame!
The first shot that had the world in awe was in an overtime win against the Undefeated UConn Huskies in the semifinals. Arike sent UConn back home with a pull up jump shot to improve the score to 91-89! Her idol, Kobe Bryant, was in attendance at the game, so Ogunbowale said she channeled her Mamba Mentality.
After the game, Kobe and Arike exchanged tweets saying:
Kobe- “Big time shot Arike! We are a UCONN women’s basketball family, but we love seeing great players make great plays! I know my lil sis Jewel Loyd is happy. Well done Notre Dame women’s basketball. Good luck on Sunday. #mambamentality.”
Arike responded- “WOW! My life is complete. The GOAT!”
And then Kobe responded- “nah...it’s complete finishing the job on Sunday.”
So she came out and did just that against Mississippi State. She had a rough shooting night going 15-20, but SHOOTERS KEEP SHOOTING! With the game tied 58-58, She demanded the ball in the final seconds of the game, and hit a clutch 3-point shot to win the NCAA championship!
A national title hasn’t been done in 17 years for Notre Dame and it happened All in ONE weekend in less than 48 hours! Arike put the team on her back, and gave the world a performance of a life time. The thought of knocking down two back-to-back buzzer beaters to win the NCAA Championship is unreal and unheard of, but Ogunbowale made it possible. Both shots nearly in the same spot on the court.
Ogunbowale instantly became a celebrity and Twitter friends with Kobe Bryant, and a trophy to go with it. The fairytale ending could not get any better.
Ogunbowale was named the Most Outstanding player of the tournament for her astonishing efforts. She’s only a Junior, and will be on every teams drawing board next year, but fans and teammates will get to cherish her in the NCAA for one more season. Congratulations to the Goat!